When the book UnChristian by Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman came out several years ago, the main thought driving the book is that Christians are assumed by society to be; Hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political, judgmental. If the majority of America is saying this about Christianity then we have to wonder, what did we say and do to produce this conception? And, what do we believe that is turning people off so much to us? Out of this, we have seen several Christian authors like Dan Kimball and Greg Boyd write books like They Like Jesus But Not The Church and Myth of A Christian Nation.
On some level, I don’t think this criticism is fair; most Evangelicals are not like Terry Jones, Westboro Baptist, or those portrayed in the movie Jesus Camp. However, some Evangelicals have claimed some of the insensitive and hateful beliefs towards homosexuals, people who don’t claim their political/theological ideology, and claiming God predestined all of the natural disasters and dehumanizing deaths in the world. It seems to me that these Evangelical Christians have claimed a narcissistic, victimized identity. They feel like the victims of the world, because they’re against abortion or homosexuality. They feel that because the world is against, what they feel like God is for, then they are hear to suffer until they die, or he returns. Likewise, this same belief of being right has built in a narcissistic ego, which claims that Truth is ours and the rest of the world is damned, because we have it exclusively. In this mindset, it becomes far too easy to place ourselves on a pedestal.
My experience of most Evangelicals are that they really do care about people. They care about making the world a better place. They give money and time to help those in need. They do their best to live rightly. For every Terry Jones, there are projects like Operation Christmas Chile, World Vision, and people leading the way like Shane Claiborne.
How is it that the people following the most beautiful, most transformative, and most inspirational human being ever to live have hijacked this message and be associated with such negativity and animosity? How can we reclaim the beauty, hope, and peace and bring it into the world, just as Christ did? As Greg Boyd wonderfully says, “How is it that possessing Christ-like love has never been considered the central test of orthodoxy?” How can it be that what we say, do, and believe, do not match the love of Christ?